A Turkish research group has discovered the remains of a terrestrial animal fossil that is believed to be about 7,5 million years old in the central province of Kayseri.
The Obruk (sink-hole) Cave Reserach Group discovered the ancient fossils during a survey conducted at the bottom of the Yamula Dam.
According to a statement published by the Kayseri Metropolitan Municipality on Facebook, the fossils are thought to belong to the ancestors of elephants.
"For the first time in the world, a land animal's fossil was found underwater at the Yamula Dam," the statement said on Sunday.
It's also rare to discover intact and undamaged fossils deep beneath the water.
"They (experts) can identify which part belongs to which animal species from the photographs I take... However, these samples may be fragmented and deformed as they remain underwater," Turkish cave diver Ali Ethem Keskin said.
"I need to underline that fossils of sea creatures were previously discovered. However, for the first time in the world, fossils of a land creature thought to belong to the ancestors of elephants have been pictured underwater," Keskin added.
Researchers have unearthed many ancient fossils in the area, including skulls and jawbones belonging to elephants, after new excavations were launched near the Yamula Dam two years ago.